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Bahrain government websites briefly inaccessible after purported hack claim over Israel-Hamas war

Last Updated Nov 21, 2023 at 8:43 am MDT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The websites of two government ministries in Bahrain briefly became inaccessible Tuesday night after a statement claimed hackers took them down over the island kingdom’s stance on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

A statement posted online by a self-described group calling itself Al-Toufan, or “The Flood” in Arabic, claimed hacking the Foreign Ministry and the Information Affairs Ministry’s websites. Both later became accessible again Tuesday night.

The statement said the purported hacks came in retaliation for “the abnormal statements issued” by the island’s Al Khalifa ruling family, without elaborating. Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa opened a summit last week in the kingdom with a call for a swap between Hamas and Israel for the hostages and a halt in the bloodshed.

The Bahraini government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. State media in Bahrain did not acknowledge the incident.

In February, the self-described group issued a claim that it had taken down the websites of Bahrain’s international airport, state news agency and chamber of commerce to mark the 12-year anniversary of an Arab Spring uprising in the small Gulf country. The same shadowy self-described group targeted government websites during elections held last year that were boycotted by a banned Shiite opposition group and others.

Bahrain reached a diplomatic recognition deal with Israel in 2020 alongside the United Arab Emirates. The island kingdom, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, has drawn repeated criticism from Iran, its regional arch rival, over that.

The Associated Press